PBGVCA Breeders' Tool ChestTo preserve the well‐being and unique character of the Breed.

< Looking at the Breed Standard from a Performance Perspective

Looking at the Breed Standard from a Conformation Perspective

The name, Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen, tells you so much about the breed:

Petit small; Basset a Basset breed to the French is a hound under about 17-1/2; Griffon coat, rough; Vendéen region of France. The Vendee, replete with briar, rock and thorn, is on France's western coast.

American Kennel Club PBGV Standard

Judge Kitty Steidel's Views


The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen is a French scent hound developed first and foremost to hunt small game over the rough and difficult terrain of the Vendéen region. To function efficiently, he must be equipped with certain characteristics.

General Appearance Judge's Views

Those essential characteristics: his running gear and his fearless energy. He needs good strong bone and toughness inside and out; his furnishings for protection.



He is bold and vivacious in character; compact, tough and robust in construction. He has an alert outlook, lively bearing and a good voice freely and purposefully used.

The most distinguishing characteristics of this bold hunter are: his rough, unrefined outlines; his proudly carried head displaying definitive long eyebrows, beard, and moustache; his strong, tapered tail carried like a saber, alert and in readiness. Important to breed type is the compact, casual, rather tousled appearance, with no feature exaggerated and his parts in balance.

Any deviation from the ideal described in the standard should be penalized to the extent of the deviation. Structural faults common to all breeds are as undesirable in the PBGV as in any other breed, regardless of whether they are specifically mentioned.

General Appearance Judge's View


The adjectives describing features of PBGV in the very first paragraph general appearance should paint the picture bold, vivacious, rough and unrefined, definitive long eyebrows. Alert outlook, proudly carried head; this means up and forward not upright as a reconnissance gait. First paragraph also denotes origin and purpose. His name and the first paragraph is of utmost importance. He appears as cute, and that he is but remember he is an aggressive hunter.


Size – PBGVs measure between 13 and 15 inches at the withers. Height over 15 inches is a disqualification. Height under 13 inches is a disqualification at one year of age or older.

Size...Judge's View:

Back when we were first concerned that our dogs, from England especially,were large we pondered whether or not to have a DQ (disqualification). I turned to the most authoritative individual existing, M. Huber Desamy, then the President of the Vendéen Club in France to ask if we should have a DQ. He replied that "Measuring was for bad dogs and bad judges and that a centimetre or so for a quality dog was not important." We incorporated a DQ anyway; for the upper limited. Next, we were getting such small dogs, we added a lower limit. Lower DQ was set at 13.

Size, Proportion, Substance cont...

Proportion – When viewed in profile, the body is somewhat longer than tall when measured from point of shoulder to buttocks, as compared to the height from withers to ground. Substance – Strong bone with substance in proportion to overall dog.

Head – The head is carried proudly and, in size, must be in balance with the overall dog. It is longer than its width in a ratio of approximately two to one. A coarse or overly large head is to be penalized.

Expression alert, friendly and intelligent.

Eyes large and dark with good pigmentation, somewhat oval in shape, showing no white. The red of the lower eyelid should not show. The eyes are surmounted by long eyebrows, standing forward, but not obscuring the eyes.

Ears supple, narrow and fine, covered with longhair, folding inward and ending in an oval shape. The leathers reach almost to the end of the nose. They are set on low, below the line of the eyes. An overly long or high-set ear should be penalized.

Skull domed, oval in shape when viewed from the front. It is well cut away under the eyes and has a well-developed occipital protuberance. Stop clearly defined.

Muzzle – The length of the muzzle from nose to stop is slightly shorter than the length from the stop to occiput. The underjaw is strong and well-developed.

Nose black and large, with wide nostrils. A somewhat lighter shading is acceptable in lighter colored dogs. A butterfly nose is a fault. Lips – The lips are covered by long hair forming a beard and moustache.

Bite – It is preferable that the teeth meet in a scissors bite, but a level bite is acceptable.

Size, Proportion, Substance Judge's View cont...

Proportion I have my own way of assessing proportion. I personally see approximately square from withers to rump and withers to ground, then with some sternum and something behind that tail set I see somewhat longer than tall. We stressed over whether to use "somewhat" or "slightly longer" than tall in the standard. The drag of the breed IMO is long and low.

Head A heavy head is also likely to have higher set flat ear with more cartilage, not the lovely fine ear leather described in the standard.

The head is not particularly large as the dog is not so large. His expression is alert and friendly and this is created by the dark oval eye showing no white, the low set very supple and fine ear leather, leather that ends in an oval. Important: The PB muzzle is shorter than the skull and ears do not reach the end of the nose. Now with the Grand Basset in the hound group (whose ears reach beyond the nose and the muzzle is a bit longer than the skull) these muzzle/ear distinctions are very important. The head of the PBGV is one of those features way different from the Grand. The grand's is very domed; the petit's is slightly so.


Neck –The neck is long and strong, without throatiness, and flows smoothly into the shoulders.

Topline – The back is visibly level from withers to croup. There is a barely perceptible rise over a strong loin. Viewed in profile, the withers and the croup should be equidistant from the ground.

Body muscular, somewhat longer than tall. Compact, casual in appearance, with no feature exaggerated and his parts in balance. Chest rather deep, with prominent sternum. Ribs moderately rounded, extending well back. Loin short, strong, and muscular. There is but little tuck-up.

Tail of medium length, set on high, it is strong at the base and tapers regularly. It is well furnished with hair, has but a slight curve and is carried proudly like the blade of a saber; normally pointing at about two o’clock. In a curved downward position the tip of the tail bone should reach no further than the hock joint.

Neck, Topline, Body Judge's View

The neck-topline-body section is not complicated. Neck needs to be long enough to get the head and particularly that nose to the ground for scent. Body is sturdy, not heavy, but strong. Topline is visibly level but do allow for the strong loin because a loin is strong all around, not just on sides of the loin so one will see a slight rise (muscling) over that strong loin but nothing extreme. Chest is deep, a bit below the elbow.

Casual in appearance is just that. No blunt scissor marks, no shaping sporting dog-like. No terrier jackets. Though dandified is what you will see most often in the ring, we do not want that: it is not typical. Rather we want that appearance as if torn by the elements of the rough terrain. In the original Visualization of the Standard, I requested no brushes in the ring! Fat chance today!

The tail bears mentioning. Breeders like to talk about nice short tails, reason being: in the early U.S. experience the tails of so many imports were long more suggestive of Grand Basset. The standard says medium length.


Shoulders clean and well laid back. Upper arm approximately equal in length to the shoulder blade.

Elbows close to the body.

Legs – The length of leg from elbow to ground should be slightly more than half the height from withers to ground. Viewed from the front, it is desirable that the forelegs be straight, but a slight crook is acceptable. In either case, the leg appears straight, is strong and well boned, but never coarse nor weedy. Improperly constructed front assemblies, including poor shoulder placement, short upper arms, out at elbows, lack of angulation and fiddle fronts, are all serious faults. Pasterns strong and slightly sloping. Any tendency to knuckle over is a serious fault. Dewclaws may, or may not, be removed.

Feet not too long, between hare and cat foot, with hard, tight pads. The nails are strong and short.

Forequarters Judge's View

This means that the chest does not come just down to the elbow; it comes down slighly below the elbow on the mature dog

We do want angles but probably not the 90 degree angles of the ideal Basset which is way longer than the PB. My guess is approximately 105 degrees but again we are talking live animal and nature.

Take note, faults affecting running gear are serious (Viewed from the front...). Also note that the aforementioned faults are faults with most breeds


Strong and muscular with good bend of stifle. A well-defined second thigh. Hips wide, thighs well-muscled. Hocks are short and well angulated, perpendicular from hock to ground. Feet are as in front. Except that they must point straight ahead.

Hindquarters Judge's View

Nothing unusual about the PBGV rear.


The coat is rough, long without exaggeration and harsh to the touch, with a thick shorter undercoat. It is never silky or woolly. The eyes are surmounted by long eyebrows, standing forward but not obscuring the eyes. The ears are covered by long hair. The lips are covered by long hair forming a beard and moustache. The tail is well furnished with hair. The overall appearance is casual and tousled.

The rough, unrefined outline and tousled appearance of this rustic hunting hound is essential. Any sculpting, clipping, scissoring or shaping of the coat is contrary to PBGV breed type. The PBGV coat should be clean, neatened as necessary, but always remain casually disarrayed. Any deviation from the ideal described here and in the General Appearance Section of the official standard should be penalized to the extent of the deviation.

Coat Judge's View

We repeat again that casual appearance is a very important part of breed type.

More detailed discussion of essentials:

Eyes This is misunderstood frequently: we see eyebrows cut straight off like a visor BAD. We see the little fan that goes from muzzle up to and into the long eyebrows removed BAD. The eyebrows and that little fan are protective the fan actually becomes part of the eyebrows themselves!

Ears This is another detail that is not treated properly by breeders; long hair is called for but breeders remove it. It should be penalized the Standard calls for hair on the ears and it is also protective. Either the breeders ignore the standard or think the judges do not know the difference between ear leathers and hair!

Overall appearance Over the years we have used different phrases hoping one of them would be observed but alas, not so. Casually disarrayed is our latest attempt at overall description. Unfortunately, the handlers/breeders are creating underlines more akin to sporting dogs and putting jackets on the body. IMO judges should not allow these infractions to totally discolor the dog. It is the structure underneath the man made feature that is important.


White with any combination of lemon, orange, black, sable, tricolor or grizzle markings, providing easy visibility in the field.

Color Judge's View

Colors are most often muted. White is needed for hunters visibility in the field.


The movement should be free at all speeds. Front action is straight and reaching well forward. Going away, the hind legs are parallel and have great drive. Convergence of the front and rear legs towards his center of gravity is proportional to the speed of his movement. Gives the appearance of an active hound, capable of a full day’s hunting.

Gait Judge's View

Nothing unusal here.


Confident, happy, extroverted, independent yet willing to please, never timid nor aggressive.

Temperament Judge's View

This statement says it all. One does not need to be on guard when approaching the breed; they are alert and very friendly. So alert that when other dogs/handlers are doing their down and back, the PBGV watches!


Height over 15 inches is a disqualification. Height under 13 inches is a disqualification at one year of age or older.

Disqualification Judge's View

Clearly stated.

Approved April 22, 2014
Effective July 1, 2014